Record-breaking Volvo Race delivers €70m boostJuly 5, 2012 - 7:00am
Early projections are that Galway’s staging of the Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) grand finale is set to exceed expectations by boosting the economy of the West of Ireland to the tune of at least €70 million.
With the festivities around the city’s harbour set to run until Sunday, tourism and business interests are already confident that the impact of the festival will greatly exceed the €55 million which the May 2009 stopover generated for the region’s economy.
Although the current festival is shorter than the 14 day bash three years ago, the huge increase in the number of corporate and non-Irish visitors has ensured a significantly greater boost for the hospitality sector.
Despite inclement weather over the opening days, and heavy traffic in the city at peak periods, the event is well on course to attract an attendance in excess of the 650,000 spectators who turned the 2009 stopover into one of the most successful in the 39-year history of the race.
Both Failte Ireland and race organisers Volvo have hired a team of independent consultants, Price Waterhouse Cooper, to examine the impact which the nine day festival will have on the city and county. In 2009, Deloitte LLP found that the VOR stopover was worth €45m in direct and €10m in indirect expenditure.
“So far, so good, and based on the numbers to date we are confident of breaking the €70m mark this time around,” said Fiona Monaghan of Failte Ireland, one of the main sponsors. “We are confident the festival is on track to reach this target. It may be shorter than the 2009 stopover, but it has attracted far more international visitors because it is the grand finale.”
Michael Coyle of the Galway Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the number of pleasure craft in Galway Harbour this week was testament to how much bigger the 2012 grand finale was than the 2009 stopover.
“This festival has reminded us of the sheer potential of the waterfront in this city,” he said. “People have learned a lot from the 2009 event and there has been a concerted effort to spread the benefits of the festival around a wider area this time around.”
See full story and three pages of coverage in this week's Connacht Tribune.